A DNA sample from Larsen’s skull was a match to his 95-year-old sister, Betty Lou Worley, and his niece, 59-year-old Lisa King. The women, both Monroe residents, provided DNA samples in 2011 at the Navy’s request.
The women didn’t hear anything for years. They figured they might never know the fate of their brother and uncle.
But in February, King got a call from a Navy official who broke the news: Scientists had found a skull among other unidentified remains from the USS Oklahoma, unburied from a cemetery known as the Punchbowl in Honolulu.
Larsen’s remains are to arrive in Utah on Thursday, and a funeral is planned for Friday morning at Monroe City Cemetery.
“She had those tears coming down, and a smile on her face, because she didn’t ever dream of this happening,” King said of her mother.
King said her uncle was a brilliant and loving man, well-known for his musical talents. He played baritone horn in the Navy band, and had traveled the world on the USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma in the six years directly preceding his death.
Larsen graduated from high school in Monroe and attended Idaho State University for a year before entering the Navy. He was engaged to be married at the time of his death, King said.
And he was so close to avoiding the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor altogether.
Larsen had been released to head home for the holidays the day before, King said, but he opted to stick around the ship a couple of extra weeks to wait for several friends.
Japanese torpedoes struck the USS Oklahoma, causing it to capsize. The attack killed 429 crewmen — the most of any vessel at Pearl Harbor other than the USS Arizona.
For three years after the attack, Navy personnel recovered and buried remains of the crew. In 1947, officials unburied the remains and moved them to a central identification laboratory, where 35 men from the USS Oklahoma were identified.
The unknown remains were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery in Honolulu, also…